Considering Adopting a Child with HIV

In March 2009, my husband and I had traveled to Ukraine to visit the boy we were in the process of adopting. While playing with him we met several other kids, but when I saw this little blonde haired, green eyed boy my heart melted. His name was Kolia. This little boy looked so cute, so healthy and had a smile that consumed his whole face. We asked a little bit about this boy and were told he was available for adoption. So now we were faced with the thoughts of adopting more than one child. We visited with the children for several days. We had so much fun with these children.

As we were leaving the orphanage to get on the train to make our way back to the United States, one of the ladies at the orphanage said to us that Kolia could not be adopted. Of course we wanted to know why and we were told that he is HIV+. My heart now was breaking. How could this sweet little boy who looks very healthy have such a horrible disease? This news really tore me apart. I was consumed with a wide range of thoughts: First, what is new with the research and medication of this disease? Secondly, Will he die soon from this disease?, Third, I have four biological children; I can’t expose them to this disease can I? Fourth, We can’t afford to care for a child that needs this much care, can we? And finally, can you even adopt a child with HIV? I sent an email to the US Consulate in Ukraine and asked them if we could adopt a little boy that is HIV+? They responded and said, “yes you can”. Then we began to do some research about HIV and AIDS. What I found out is that this disease is not the death sentence it once was. There are wonderful medications that once prescribed in the correct mix can make the disease undetectable in the blood. This does not mean you are healed but that the medication is helping your body fight the disease. I spoke to doctors at Riley Children’s Hospital who explained to me that they treat children with HIV and AIDS, that they used to mourn the loss of these children to the disease, but that now they are very saddened when these children move out of the pediatric care and move to the adult care doctors because they will not get to see them. The doctor stated that these children will more likely die of old age than AIDS. I checked with our insurance carrier and they stated that he would be covered. In my research and talking with doctors I also found out how difficult it is to contract this disease. You cannot get HIV from sharing a drink, from kissing, from using the same utensil, from wrestling, from him sneezing on you. Studies have shown that even if you get stuck with a needle that has been in the body of an HIV infected person there is only a .3% chance you will contract the disease. So after finding this out I felt good about keeping my other children safe. After finding all this out we prayed, we prayed and we prayed for God to close the door if this is not what He wanted us to do.

Stephanie’s story continues tomorrow. If you would consider adopting a child with HIV, please visit our Families Wanted! page to see those children waiting to join loving families.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.